Arthur knew this was a stupid idea.
Dodging out of the way of a couple laughing kids, he cursed under his breath at his rotten luck. Solidifying in his mind the fact that this whole thing was entirely Gilbert, Francis, and Antonio's fault, he bit back his tears and promised himself to murder them once he was out of here.
If he ever got out of here.
"Where the bloody hell are you all?" he cried into the darkness. A few people gave him smiling yet sympathetic glances as they passed by him, arm-in-arm with their friends.
Friends who wouldn't ditch them the moment they got in the maze, unlike his so-called friends.
He continued to stalk among the browning stalks of corn surrounding him on each side, praying he would run into someone from the group soon. There were seven of them in total there that night, surely he would have to run into one of them at some point, right?
"Alfred! Matthew!" he called out, after running into yet another dead end. "Ludwig!" He growled, he would be out there, cold and alone, for weeks before he called out for the other three stooges, but he would be lying if he didn't admit he was starting to freak out just a little.
Arthur was one more dead end away from simply breaking every rule of the corn maze, and making a beeline right through the corn to the exit, when a faint sound got his attention.
"Hello?" he called back excitedly, tearing back through the maze in the direction he thought the voice had come from.
"Arthur! Dude, stop moving around!" Alfred. Arthur's heart skipped a beat. Of all the people to find him, it was that stupid, idiotic, precious boy, coming to the rescue to be his hero as always. "I see you, Artie!" he called, and Arthur spun around in a circle, trying to figure out how, exactly, he was able to do that. "Up here!"
Sure enough, atop one of the big wooden platforms that had been set up around the maze to help people navigate though, stood Alfred, the ridiculous miner's hat he insisted on wearing shining into Arthur face as he waved.
"Where the hell have you been?" he demanded, deciding Alfred didn't need to know just how happy he was to see him.
"I got separated from the group pretty soon after you did, dude," he sighed. "I can see a couple of 'em from up here, but they're like, way too far off. I'm glad you showed up though!" Alfred chirped with a grin. Arthur blushed. Alfred's grin always did that to him. "Hey, listen up, I'll try to guide you over to me, okay?"
Alfred's grin immediately melted into contemplation as he scanned over the corn and traced a path with his finger. "Okay, so, keep going forward, then take the first left. After that, take the second right."
Arthur did as he was told, allowing Alfred to walk him through the maze. Soon enough, the platform, and by extension Alfred, finally seemed to be getting closer.
"Awesome! Just take the next two rights, and you're there, dude!"
Arthur sighed as he followed the instructions, and finally came up to the wooden steps. Alfred beamed down on him from the top and waved, which Arthur returned half-heartily. "About time," he growled as Alfred laughed. "And get that light out of my face, you git."
"Whoops!" Alfred switched off the light on his hat with a sheepish smile. A few people piled onto the platform, forcing Alfred to the base of the stairs to join Arthur. "S'all good, don't worry. You can't see how to get out any better up there than you can down here." Eyes set ahead, he flipped the light on his hat back on, and pointed dramatically. "Let's go!"
Arthur shook his head, but followed behind the big idiot anyway. "Lead the way," he sighed. "Not like I have much else of a choice but to follow you."
Alfred smirked from over his shoulder. "It's for reals your lucky day, Artie," he sang. "You don't even know how lucky it was that I spotted you! A hero can find his way through any obstacle!"
With Alfred's back to him, Arthur allowed himself a small, fond smile. "We'll see about that."
"Hell yes, you will!" The boy froze at a fork in their path for a moment, before taking a sharp left. "Anywho, what have you been doing for the last fifteen minutes?"
"Wandering aimlessly, mostly," he sighed, shuffling up just a bit closer to Alfred's back than necessary as a group of people passed by them going in the opposite direction. "And you?"
Alfred turned right sharply, only to end up in a dead end. "Son of a bitch!" he cursed, before shrugging apologetically, and backtracking though the way they came. "Oh, you know, pretty much the same. I got to the platform and just kinda figured I would sit there untilI found someone." He grinned. "As a hero, it only seemed right to help those in need."
"How kind of you," Arthur scoffed, and Alfred laughed. They slowed down as they ran into another group of people, and as soon as they were able, took a quick left to get away from them. "Do you even have any idea where you're going?" he asked finally. He wouldn't be too upset if he didn't (the more time he spent alone with Alfred, the better, his mind supplied him teasingly), but he figured it would be better to ask.
"Of course I do, dude!" he gasped. "We'll be out of here in no time!"
Twenty minutes of sharp turns, dead ends, and rushed assurances later, they found themselves in exactly the same spot they had passed for the fifth time.
Alfred glanced worriedly at the oddly bent corn stalk that had acted like a little marker of failure, and bit his lip. "That's, uh, weird."
Arthur rolled his eyes. As much as he enjoyed staring at Alfred's backside, the sun had been down for a good while now, and the air was steadily getting even cooler. "You have no bloody idea where you're going, do you?"
"O-of course I do! I'm just, uh... Matt!"
Matthew, who had been meandering around on the path in front of them, turned around and blinked at them in shock. "Alfred? Arthur?"
"Yeah! Hey bro!" They ran up to Alfred's twin, who waved back at them lazily. "Where have you been, man?"
Matthew shrugged. "I've been following Francis, but he's uh, busy at the moment."
"Busy?" Arthur asked, not liking at all the way Matthew has said that.
"Bonjour, mes amis!" sang a distinctively French voice from somewhere deep within the corn field in front of them. Alfred and Arthur shared a knowing, and then disgusted, glace.
"Dude," Alfred said with a cringe, "are you peeing in there?"
Francis chuckled. "Oui! When you have to go, you have to go, no?"
Arthur groaned, rubbing his temples. "Oh my god, that's vile."
Alfred, of course, laughed loudly and slapped Matthew on the back, much to the other man's irritation. Rubbing what was sure to be the large handprint imprinted on his skin, Matthew smiled at the pair. "Sorry we lost you back there, Arthur. They all just ran off."
"No worries, lad," Arthur replied with a smile.
Matthew nodded, and turned to his brother, crossing his arms and smirking knowingly. "At least you completed your mission, eh Alfred?" he asked. Arthur rose an eyebrow in confusion.
"What do you mean competed his mission?"
"He didn't tell you?" Matthew asked in surprise.
Arthur shook his head peaked over his shoulder at Alfred. "What in the blazes is he-"
It may have been a trick of the light, but for a split second, Arthur could swear that Alfred's cheeks had taken on a rosy hue in the darkness. "Mattie!" he snapped in a loud whisper. Arthur pursed his lips.
"Honestly! What are you two going on about?" he demanded.
"As soon as Alfred realized you got separated from us, he, rather loudly, proclaimed that he would be your hero and find you," Matthew explained. "Seriously, Al. I don't see why you didn't just-"
"Okay!" Alfred exclaimed, cutting Matthew off. With a huge, fake grin, he looped his arm in Arthur's, and took off in the opposite direction. "Well, we'll be seeing you guys at the exit, good luck!" he cried, turning the corner.
Arthur, still trying to process what the hell had just happened, dug his heels into the ground and tried, to no avail, to yank his arm away. "Alfred Jones, stop this moment!" he exclaimed. "What are you thinking? We should have stuck with Matthew and Francis!"
"You wanna walk around a maze in the dark with Francis?" he asked, a hint of amusement ringing in his voice.
They continued along though the maze in relative silence, Alfred leading the way, and Arthur being dragged along behind, lost in his thoughts. Why hadn't Alfred just told him he had stayed back to look for him in the first place? Why would he lie about that? Staying back to be his "hero"...
It was rather...sweet.
Arthur felt his face flush, and immediately tried to will it away. No use getting his hopes up, after all.
Alfred cleared his throat, breaking the silence and snapping Arthur back to reality. "So, uh, which way do you think?" he asked, gesturing to a fork in the path. Arthur shrugged.
"I don't know. You've been the leader of this whole expedition, haven't you?"
Alfred scratched the back of his neck sheepishly. "Which is working so well for us," he chuckled, absentmindedly whacking a stalk of corn. Arthur rolled his eyes, but smiled.
"To the left."
"The left it is!" Alfred pumped his fist into the air and marched forward. Arthur shook his head, but followed.
And was promptly grabbed from behind.
His eyes widened, and his hands immediately flew to the hands that were covering his mouth. He kicked his legs and flailed his arms as much as he could from the restraining hold, but whoever was holding him was obviously bigger and stronger. Down the path, Alfred was slowly getting smaller, unaware that Arthur was even missing, let alone being pulled down a dead end and into the depths of the surrounding corn field.
Finally, he got a good enough grip on the hand over his mouth to free it. "ALFRED!" he yelled hysterically. "ALFRED HELP!"
It was like a bullet.
Alfred spun on the balls of his feet, his eyes widening, and sprinted at Arthur's captors, his face furious and obviously ready for a fight. "Let him go, you bastards!" he screamed, and Arthur felt himself being released. Familiar, Gilbert-sounding laughter echoed into the field.
Arthur fell to the ground and glared into the corn, the retreating form of Gilbert's white hair just barely visible among the stalks.
Arthur's breath caught as Alfred's arms suddenly embraced him. He held him tight to his chest, his labored breathing warm on his neck and his fingers tightening on the rough fabric of Arthur's peacoat. Arthur was sure his face was about as red as a traffic light, and as much as he wanted to ask Alfred what he was doing, he knew he couldn't trust his voice not to stutter.
So he stayed where he was, on the dirt floor of the corn maze, held in the boy of his dream's arms.
"This was a stupid idea."
Arthur blinked, surprised by the sudden break in the silence, and pulled himself away from Alfred's warmth just enough to study his face. "What?"
Alfred continued to stare at the ground. "This maze. It was a stupid idea."
"Well, I could have told you that," Arthur said quietly with a smile. Alfred smiled back, but it didn't quite reach his eyes.
"I mean," he sighed, "I had this whole plan, ya know?" Arthur blinked owlishly- a silent explanation that no, he didn't know. Alfred peaked at it and sighed forlornly. "Okay, I had a plan. We were gonna start off going through the maze, and after a while, you and me would fall behind. Well, Gilbert, Francis, and Antonio took care of that right away, the dicks," he glared at the point Gilbert had retreated from, "but unfortunately, I wasn't left behind with you."
Alfred paused, his blue eyes locking with Arthur's. Arthur gulped. "Alfred," he whispered. "W-what are you saying?"
"I thought maybe if I could lead you out of the maze, I could impress you," Alfred continued with a sigh. "I thought I could impress you and be your hero, and that, maybe... you would..."
Arthur's heart was beating so loudly and so quickly, he thought for sure it was going to burst right out of his chest. He cursed himself for getting his hopes up, but he was already hanging onto Alfred's every word, so why let go now? "I would what?"
Alfred finally looked into his eyes, and smiled so softly, so lovingly; a smile that Arthur had only seen in his dreams. "Like me as much as I like you," he sighed.
Arthur melted. "Oh Alfred," he breathed. "You didn't have to do all that."
"Huh? What do you mean?" And dammit, if he didn't look like the most baffled and adorable thing Arthur had ever seen. His eyes wide, his hair mussed, and that stupid mining hat crooked on his head; Arthur could have kissed him right then and there.
Maybe that wasn't such a bad idea.
Smiling coyly, Arthur reached up and switched off the light on Alfred's hat, washing them in darkness.
He placed a finger on the boy's lips, silencing him. "There is no need to lead me out of the maze to impress me," he said tenderly. "I much prefer getting lost."
And together, in a private corner of a corn maze, they shared their first kiss, under the stars.
Inspired by a recent trip to a corn maze! I wanted to do SOMETHING for the Halloween season, but I can;t write horror, so you get this instead! Hope the fluff was okay, I'm still working on that.
Not much else to say for this AN, but keep an eye out for the next chapter of Love Match and Run Fast, Turn Left!
Also, don't forget, I have a good collection of mini drabbles on my tumblr, if you are interested! :D Link is in my profile, but my url is seecarrun. Hope to see you there!